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Yoga for Osteoporosis: Eight Tools for Prevention and Empowerment

Osteoporosis is a complex condition that is frequently identified from the results of only one measure: a score on a DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan. Typically from that score alone, although informative, we are too often urged to begin osteoporosis medication.  We might receive little or no review of the various medication choices for osteoporosis, their actions, their counterindications, their suitability for your case, and their risks. We are also not “prescribed” fall prevention or strengthening strategies, which reliably prevent fracture.

Demonstration of chair yoga pose for osteoporosis.
Chair squat with spinal strengthening arms.

Crucially, there are many other factors not widely addressed beyond the DEXA score to deepen understanding of the presence of this condition. They include but are not limited to: bone quality, current or previous medications that can effect bone density, estrogen levels, parathyroid disease, genetics, and history of previous fracture. See some of my favorite references below to learn about the complexity of the condition.

My Story, My Mission

When I was told about osteoporosis based on the DEXA, fear, disappointment, and shock ensued. Like many of you, I wasn’t afraid of fracture until I received the DEXA scores! Friends, the actual data tells us that the likelihood of fracturing can increase with fragility and/or age, NOT correlation with our scores on a dexa scan. (1)

I have lived my life over the last several years with osteoporosis in my spine, according to the DEXA.  To help myself and others, I have become a certified BoneFIt® Specialist through the Bone Health and National Osteoporosis Foundation. I have studied directly with Dr. Loren Fishman about yoga for osteoporosis, and I am also a NASM certified Senior Fitness Specialist.  I have studied the research widely and critically, and of course I’m still learning.

It is my mission to empower people (and myself!) to stay physically strong, flexible, balanced, mindful of movements and surroundings, and to reduce anxiety and fear for a fulfilling life.

I want to teach you to invest in yourself through prevention and strength. And even if you and your health care provider feel that medication is indicated, medication will not increase strength, prevent falls, increase balance, or reduce stress. That is where yoga comes in.

Yoga osteoporosis warrior one variation.
Warrior one variation for flexibility and strength.

Fall prevention is key

Movement is key, performed wisely

Prevention is empowering

Your Intelligently Crafted Yoga Practice can:

 enhance strength

increase balance

teach wise movement

reduces stress

enhance flexibility

decrease anxiety

and increase mindfulness


I can help you discover variations of poses that are both safe and empowering for you!

  1. Yoga poses require us to utilize our muscles to move in, out , or within a pose. Asana lengthens, tones, and strengthens muscles.  Novel stimulus is key for muscle and bone strength.
  2. Pose novelty and variety helps ensure all important muscles are addressed and challenged. Static poses build strength through isometric contracting. Dynamic poses employ resistance as well as moving through full ROM (range of motion). You can combine the two by moving in and out of a posture several times and then holding the pose for 5-10 breaths.
  3. You can add resistance bands for additional strength stimulus to familiar poses. You’ll discover a whole new experience of yoga, backed by evidence of the efficacy of bands for strength.
  4. Added resistance to yoga core strengthening on back.
  5. Yoga poses improve balance. The way to improve balance is to practice balancing.
  6. Mindful awareness is improved. We become more aware of our environments, where we are walking, and how we are moving. This awareness helps us avoid accidents when we aren’t paying attention.
  7. Meditation helps with the “big picture”, noticing if our mind is taking detours into anxiety and unnecessary negative visualization.
  8. Yoga is portable. Your breath, body and mind are the essentials to enjoy the benefits.
  9. *I also do strength training with dumbbells twice a week to crosstrain, for variety, and to stay challenged, asking my muscles to constantly adapt. However, the benefits listed above are unique to yoga..

Work with me individually or take my classes, which are osteoporosis informed.  I can help you find the safest and most enjoyable way for you to practice your yoga.


  1. C. Kennedy, G. Ioannidis, et al .A Frailty Index predicts 10-year fracture risk in adults age 25 years and older: results from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) Osteoporosis Int. 2014 December; 25(12) 2825-2832

Bonnie Golden, Yoga for Holistic Healing: Poses and Sequences for Pain and Stress Relief.

Dr. Lani Simpson’s book.No Nonsense Bone Health Guide. This is my go to reference to learn about the complexity of osteoporosis.

Dr. Loren Fishman & Ellen Saltonstall Yoga for Osteoporosis Dr. Fishman has been a terrific supporter and trainer and pioneer in making yoga work for all body types and conditions


  • by Gail Pickens-Barger
    Posted March 19, 2022 9:22 am 0Likes

    Do you offer your twice a week weight training classes too?

    • by Bonnie
      Posted March 19, 2022 5:35 pm 0Likes

      Hi Gail! I offer body weight strengthening and/or resistance bands in all of my individualized group sessions. I sometimes incorporate free weights in 1-1 sessions so I can teach and observe form. Thanks for reading! Bonnie

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